Former Tar Heel playing near home

April 9, 2010 

Former North Carolina ace Alex White will take the mound for the first time since the College World Series this Saturday. Improbably, he'll be doing it within a short drive from his hometown of Greenville.

When the Cleveland Indians drafted him with the 15th pick of the first round in June, the possibility of playing for the Class A Kinston Indians immediately dawned on him.

White will pitch for Kinston against the Winston-Salem Dash at 7 p.m. Saturday.

"I didn't realize how nice it was going to be," said White, who is living in Greenville. "I'm living at home, and I'm playing baseball."

At home?

"Well, I have my own place," said White, who signed a reported $2.25 million deal with Cleveland.

White said he keeps in close contact with the Tar Heels' baseball family, talking at least once a week with somebody in the program. At spring training in Arizona, he got the chance to catch up with former teammates Kyle Seager, Dustin Ackley and Brian Moran, all of whom are Seattle Mariners prospects.

"They were like 10 minutes away," he said.

White said he's just trying to get back in the groove.

"It's about getting innings and developing my off-speed pitches, developing a breaking ball and throwing it consistently," he said.

Ackley watch: There's a good chance that Triangle baseball fans will get a chance to see former North Carolina first baseman Dustin Ackley in action in the near future.

Ackley, selected by the Seattle Mariners with the second pick overall of June's draft, was assigned to the Double-A West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx, who will play the Carolina Mudcats at Five County Stadium in a May 15-19 series.

Mudcats add frequency: All Carolina Mudcats games will be broadcast on WDWG-98.5 in addition to WDOX-570, where most of the games also will be broadcast. WDWG is a new station for the Mudcats this season.

Pack takes two the hard way: The past two weeks, N.C. State had the toughest weekend schedule of any program in the state.

Going 3-3 in those games against Miami and Virginia was no small feat.

And this weekend's set at Boshamer Stadium against North Carolina, which starts today, won't be easy either. The Wolfpack did take two of three from the Heels last season, though.

As of 1:20 p.m. Thursday, tickets were still available for the Friday and Sunday contests. The Saturday game has been sold out for more than a week.

Three to Watch

Clemson at Duke (Durham Bulls Athletic Park), 6 p.m. today

Winston-Salem Dash at Kinston Indians, 7 p.m. Saturday

N.C. State at North Carolina, 1 p.m. Sunday

Arm of the Week

St. Augustine's junior Chris Vette threw a two-hitter in a 6-2 victory over Virginia State, one of two victories in the past week.

Bat of the Week

N.C. State sophomore infielder Andrew Ciencin hit a grand slam in the 7-6 victory over No. 1 Virginia on Sunday.

Rookie of the Week

North Carolina freshman outfielder Brian Goodwin had a double, a triple and a home run, plus eight RBIs, in this past weekend's three-game series at Maryland.

javier.serna@newsobserver.com or 919-836-4953

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